Saturday, November 26, 2016

Madagascar Famine Looming

Food and Agriculture Organisation says 330,000 people in Madagascar are on verge of ‘a food security catastrophe’ following sustained drought that has decimated crops with agencies warning last month that nearly 850,000 people are experiencing “alarming” hunger levels. More than 50% of children suffering from stunted growth, a condition caused by malnutrition over the first 1,000 days of life.

Dominique Burgeon, director of emergencies and rehabilitation at the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said, “People go from one lean season to the next, resorting to negative coping strategies. People are eating anything to fill their stomachs, selling most of their belongings, cattle and land. It shows the severity of the situation and the need for us to act.”

Farmers talk of the earth changing; of failed rains and crops, and barren land.

“People are living under extreme conditions. We are dealing with a development crisis that has lasted for decades now, worsened by El Niño. For many, it is day-to-day survival,” said Elke Wisch, country representative for Unicef Madagascar. “Worst case is another crop failure,” said Wisch. “Then you are looking at – and we’re starting to see this now – people eating seeds instead of planting them. That is a desperate situation.”

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